Friday, January 14, 2011

Season 18 Preview NL East

Boston Elite Ducks (108-54, 1st)

In the last four seasons this franchise has won the division 3 times and the WS title twice. However in a surprise move a new owner has taken over, moved the team and it will have to be seen if can maintain the level of excellence of the last few seasons. A typical team would be in trouble if it allowed 800 runs, unless of course you're able to push 1000 runs across the plate like this team. Craig Velandia (58, 140, .360) is a masher but Miguel Palacios & Pedro Canseco hit 30 HR and drove in 100 RBI’s so he isn’t alone. On the mound 20 game winner Clarence Wood and lights out closer Willie Martinez (38 saves/38 opps) are back. Unfortunately success also brings bigger paychecks so not everyone from last year will be back and more difficult decisions will need to be made in the future. A fourth division title should be in the cards but it may not be as easy this year.

Prediction: 99-63

Chicago Cosby Sweaters (55-107, 4th)

It’s been a long time since this team has had the players to compete for a playoff spot and fans will need to wait a while longer as new owner pieo has asked for some patience as he rebuilds through the farm system. This may be the last season for Adam Sadler & Ivan Oliveras with the team. While both were able to smack 30 HR’s last season, players over 30 usually aren’t around long on rebuilding teams. With a team ERA of 5.62, no pitcher with more than 9 wins and four players with 10 or more loses there really isn’t a lot positive to say about the hurlers. A last place finish is guaranteed and last seasons 55 wins doesn’t look like it will be an easy level to reach.

Prediction: 48-114

Hartford Storm (95-67, 2nd)

This team owned the division before their reign came to an end 3 seasons ago. Still dangerous, it has been frustrated by the juggernaut that resided in Durham and tbarden hopes this is the year they can regain the top slot. Big years from hurlers Malcolm Rowe & Wilfredo Encarnacion would go a long way to helping the team reach that goal. On the offensive side Eric Murphy (46, 126, .330), Lorenzo Gabriel (41, 122, .321) & Germany Bradley (44, 120, .261) supply much of the fire power. The effectiveness of the pitching staff will determine how far this team will go and if Boston slips at all they might be ready to take advantage.

Prediction: 98-64

Philadelphia Meoples (90-72, 3rd)

This is the 4th season that the team will be under the control of s_gammon, unfortunately Philly is in a division with 2 powerhouse teams. So the question is have improvements been made to allow them to bang heads with the division leaders. Manny Wainhouse (18 wins) & A.J Freeman (17 wins) led the rotation but it was felt that more help was needed so Vince Livingstone and Diego Garza were added through free agency. Donald Matsuzaka (43, 134) wields the big bat but really needs more help and that wasn't addressed this off season. The pitching staff should make this team capable of staying with Hartford & Boston, and if the offense can increase its production then there may be a 3 team battle for the division title.

Prediction: 94-68

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